Doing anything when you are married with little ones can be a challenge. Do we get a sitter? Do we take them with us? What can we even do?
Going out to eat or doing an activity like bowling can get expensive fast, especially when you have to pay someone to watch your little bundle of joy. My husband and I have seen some really dark days of no dates and screaming kids in restaurants when we tried.
We had NO budging room for a sitter and finding a reliable one was a whole other problem so we ended up bringing our toddler along with us and later a baby and a toddler. This made for some interesting no talking, feeding the kids, quick date nights that I felt more exhausted then relaxed from.
We soon learned that we had to start doing something different. Here are some of the things that we changed about dates that helped us have a moment or two to connect together.
1. If you can get your baby or toddler to nap at a certain time go on your date then! We figured this one out by accident when our daughter was a little over one. After no dates for months we finally decided to give it a try. We pulled into the restaurant parking lot and our baby was asleep! I was upset because I thought she would wake up and be grumpy from not getting enough sleep. But, my husband has the special touch, and managed to get her out of her car seat and into the stroller that we covered with a blanket (because people are nosy and they don’t care if they wake the baby). We walked in were seated, ate our whole meal with no peep from our little girl. I literally cried tears of joy because we finally had some time to talk and eat like we used to and we put her back in the car with her still asleep! I know this won’t happen every time, but if it works for you it is wonderful!
2. If you live close to relatives or friends, Let Them Babysit Having a family member watch your baby is great and free. If you don’t live close see if your other Mommy friends would be willing to baby swap. You take their baby for a few hours one day and they take your baby for a few hours another day. That way two Mommies and Daddies get a date night and your little one gets a play date.
3. Set aside a budget for eating out/dates This was super important for us because we had to use every dollar to its full potential. Every pay check I would pull $25 from our account and place it in an envelope. If we got pizza one night or if my husband had to have a frosty, it came out of that. It makes you very aware of how easy it is to bust through money going out when it’s in cash, but being young and poor we had to be careful not to use our grocery money to eat out someplace. This meant that many months we only had enough money for one date night, this is where you have to be creative.
4. Make a date night at home Ready to be creative? Try picking a theme, like Paris, and make food that you would not normally make for the theme. My husband loves to do this one because we can put the baby to bed have dinner and have some quite time alone. When we were first married, and really had no money, my husband found a twist on a chicken dinner and cooked it, making the plates all pretty like a restaurant would and we sat and had a really good meal together.
5. Save change and any tips in a piggy bank You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”, well the same is true for money. We have a piggy bank on a shelf in our room that I place any change I find around the car or in the laundry in. After a few months dump it out and see what you have. We had a time when I would place any money I had in there and one month we were in a pinch. I opened the jar and found a couple $20 bills and my husband and I were able to take care of our bills and still have a nice date together. So those pennies add up and go a long way!
What have you done to spend time with your spouse on a small budget? Did you find a fun way from the suggestions above? Let me know!